The youth wing of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has mocked some elders of the Niger Delta under the Pan Niger Delta forum over the decision to endorse Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
According to the youth, the endorsement is “the handiwork of few hungry old men”.
Leaders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Northern Elders Forum, Pan-Niger Delta forum, the Middle Belt Forum, as well as a faction of Afenifere, the Yoruba socio-political group. endorsed Atiku at a summit held in Abuja on Sunday.
Arising from an emergency meeting in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, they condemned what they regarded as the “desperation of an old dying generation of elders that lack integrity”.
The endorsement has caused a big rift in the Pan Niger Delta group, with Chief Sara-Igbe Anabs, Publicity Secretary of the group, saying that at no time did they meet as a body to take the decision.
Speaking on the matter, Sara-Igbe said: “The leader can say anything, but it should be on record that PANDEF has not met to take any such decision. As far as I am concerned, we have not met as a body and besides, the constitution of PANDEF bans the forum from being partisan.”
A statement signed after the meeting of the PANDEF youth wing on Tuesday, by Famous Daunemigha, the Youth Coordinator, as well as leaders from Edo and Delta states, General’ Don Ben and Abule Ateh, respectively, noted that PANDEF was apolitical and therefore the endorsement of Atiku by a few elders was “null, void and unconstitutional”.
The statement read: “PANDEF never endorsed Atiku, because what you saw is a bunch of old dying generation elders that lack integrity. PANDEF is a well organized body, made up of a very well enlightened people cut across the whole of Niger Delta states.
“PANDEF has a constitution. We are apolitical; it’s just a bunch of old men who collected money from Atiku and Obi, trying to fill their pockets, even when they are dying.
“PANDEF never had any meeting, or Congress, where we agreed to endorse any political party. What they did, was just some few greedy old dying men lack of integrity; that’s what happened.”
Speaking at the end of the meeting, the youth coordinator added: “It’s very very clear. I am an APC member, but I’ve never used PANDEF at any point, because we know that the constitution says that we should be apolitical. We have the rights to support whatever political party, but to not to endorse any person or candidate.
“The few people you saw there are just bunch of like minds. Chief E.K. Clark, the chairman of PANDEF, some other PDP members who are there, who feel that they are losing election, felt they wanted to use regional bodies to advocate for votes, but they will fail.
“PANDEF has not met. We never had a congress at any time to decide such endorsement. It was a bunch of greedy old people.”
He called on well meaning and law abiding youth not listen to the “ranting of few greedy old men who have been disgraced before in the 2015 general election”.
He continued: “They are aware that they have disgraced themselves, and as far as I am concerned, they can never gather in any place. This bunch of elders; they can never gather, and they don’t have what it takes to gather.
“Every time they are in government, they want to eat from government money freely. That’s why our state governors cannot even develop our states, because when they just give these few elderly people some money, then they (elders) go to the press, and make statements in support of such government.
“That is why the Niger Delta region is still lagging behind in development. They are gullible elders without any self dignity.”